Madeira island news and views.
Madeira offers not only a pleasing year round climate and wonderful fauna and flora – Madeira is
also one of the most endearing holiday destinations in the world!
Located only 3 or 4 hours from most European capitals, Madeira island remains Europe’s most
beautiful sub-tropical paradise which extends an invitation to visitors for just a weekend or a deli-
ciously longer stay.
As an echo to the past, many people now arrive by ship as Funchal is a favoured port on the Atlantic Ocean cruising routes. Over the last decade Madeira island has seen a smooth migration of tourism out of Funchal and into the rural districts of the island. Levada walking, canyoning, surfing, deep sea fishing, and mountaineering are some of the many reasons that people now visit the island.
What they all find in common is that with its very low ratio of tourists to local population, they
have a chance visit an island that lives and breathes another life other than being totally in thrall to
the tourist Euro.
The pleasant soothing colours that invade the senses are the luxurious tones of rich green set
against an azure Atlantic ocean – this truly is where Europe meets with the Tropics.
The Madeira islands are also a very popular golfing destination. For many years the island of Madeira has been offering two wonderful Golf courses that have enthralled both golfers and their none playing partners alike. Today Madeira islands boasts a third course on the island of Porto Santo and will in the future sport a further course on the western tip of Madeira island.
Join us for an in-depth look at two of Madeira island’s golf courses; Palheiro Golf and Santo da Serra Golf.
Located in the rolling hills 10 km east of the capital in the splendid Palheiro Estate, Palheiro Golf is by any measure a stunning Golf course with magnificent views overlooking the city and picture perfect bay of Funchal.
Described as “one of the most beautiful places in the world to play golf”, the 18-hole par 72 (6086 metres) course was designed by the American architect Cabell Robinson and opened in March of 1993.
Palheiro Golf was then changed in 2003. Two holes were replaced, and a 6 hole academy course was created. The result is a truly stunning 18 hole challenge with breathtaking views, fast undulating greens, well placed bunkers and tight fairways that reward accurate play. The course is really enjoyable, but it is advisable to hire a buggy.
Palheiro Golf winds around the Palheiro Estate which is famous for its pine forests, centennial trees, flowering shrubs and lush vegetation.
Palheiro Golf Clubhouse lies below the eighteenth green and has a unique open plan design, which is both spacious and welcoming and has one of the best views on the island of Madeira. It sits high above the bay of Funchal and has panoramic views over the mountains and Atlantic Ocean; views which can be enjoyed from the veranda whilst sipping a post round drink.
The clubhouse environment is one of relaxation and calm. During the winter months, sitting around the open fireplace gives a cosy feel, while during the summer many a suntan is developed on the veranda!
The stylish Palheiro Golf clubhouse is further complemented by the superb restaurant which is managed by the award winning Relais and Châteaux hotel Casa Velha do Palheiro.
The Pro Shop at Palheiro Golf is the hub of the Clubhouse as its well designed, modern and open-plan layout is also where golfers check-in to play their round.
There are professional and multi-lingual Reception staff on hand to greet you, immediately putting you at ease whether you have come to play or perhaps just browse through the golfing merchandise, before enjoying a coffee on the terrace or inside the charming Clubhouse.
Palheiro Golf made Golf World’s 2009 list of Europe’s top 100 golf courses.
Palheiro Golf offers the following facilities: -
• 18 hole golf course Par 72 (6086 metres)
• A six hole ACADEMY COURSE designed for all levels
• Chipping Green with bunkers
• Putting Green
• Warm-up Driving Range
• Practice nets
• PGA Golf Professional and team
• Fully equipped Pro-Shop
• Hire clubs
• Electric Buggies and hand-trolleys for hire
• Private function / dining area
• Half-way house
• Restaurant (run by the Casa Velha do Palheiro)
What does the media have to say about Palheiro Golf:
“Palheiro offers shades of Augusta National with its landscaping and stunning flora”. ( Toby Keel – Golf World)
“One of the most beautiful places in the world in which to play golf”. (Malcolm Campbell – Golf Monthly)
“It must be the nearest concept to a golfer’s paradise.” (Simon Ames – Going for Golf)
“Set on rising ground high above Funchal Bay, Palheiro is one of the world’s loveliest golf courses.” (From ‘6 of the best’ Malcolm Campbell – Golf Monthly)
“The clubhouse, of traditional local stone with a red tile roof, has a balcony view seemingly suspended over the town of Funchal – truly one of the world’s great 19th holes.” (Golf World)
“From the first tee shot to the very last putt, the course is a visual feast.” (David Ayres – Today’s Golfer)
“A sporting theatre worthy enough to share the stunning nature beauty of the surroundings.” (The Square Meal)
“Palheiro looks down over the harbour from a vantage point that really does leave you feeling on top of the world” (Weekend – The Daily Telegraph)
“One could play the Palheiro course twice a day for a week without risking boredom.” (Travel – The Daily Telegraph)
“Everyone regardless of his or her abilities will be able to enjoy the serenity and beauty of playing on what must be two of the most scenic and best smelling golf courses in the world” (Kevin Pilley – On Course)
“Absolutely stupendous views of the harbour” (Vic Robbie – Golf Travel)
Find Palheiro Golf on the web at: www.palheirogolf.com
Above the bay of Machico, where the first Portuguese sailors disembarked, lies the Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra.
Situated in a wonderfully natural setting, the location is unspoilt and free from buildings and homes. In 2001 Seve Ballesteros described the course as ”fantastic, the clubhouse very beautiful, the food even better and the caring phenomenal.”
The original course, constructed in 1937, was redesigned in 1991 by the famous golf architect Robert Trent Jones. He created a spectacular and completely new 27 hole course integrated into one of the most beautiful locations ever created by nature.
Here, golf and nature live in perfect harmony with sport and the environment. Be it competition or pleasure, the passions of those who play at Santo da Serra are always satisfied.
Santo da Serra Golf Club is the home of the Madeira Open, a fully sanctioned European Tour event. From its location high above the bay of Machico, you can enjoy magnificent views of the rocky Atlantic coastline, making Santo da Serra one of the most spectacular courses in Europe.
The most impressive facts:
Height: The Santo da Serra course descends 300 metres from top to bottom and allows amazing panoramic over Madeira Islands. You will have the opportunity to play on the top of deep ravines.
Misconceptions: It can be tricky judging the distance because of the altitude and variable wind.
Undulating: This is a very hilly golf course and to balance the difficulty most of the trees are quite a long way from the fairways and the few water hazards are not too close to play.
Holes 2, 3 and 4 of the Machico Course are unforgettably ingrained in the memories of those who have played there.
The Machico and Desertas Courses are those usually used for the Madeira Island Open whilst the Serras Course, mildly flat, maintains the same level of play.
With four optional tees at each hole, the player is offered various levels of play enabling straightforward, relaxing rounds as well as more challenging ones.
This is the reason Santo da Serra annually hosts the Madeira Open.
Golf stars, many of them Ryder’s Cup players, praise the excellent quality of fairways and greens. Semi-roughs and roughs provide evidence of the meticulous care given to the courses conditions.
This is a true botanical garden, ornamented with four beautiful lakes, full of trees that give shade from the brilliant Atlantic sunshine.
Santo da Serra is ranked as the 12th Best Golf Course among the 75 existing in Portugal.
Santo da Serra Golf Restaurant:
The Clube de Golf do Santo da Serra restaurant is situated in a privileged spot of the course, in one of the most beautiful landscapes that nature may offer.
It is located only five minutes away from the modern motorway that connects Funchal to the airport and Machico in just 15 minutes.
The restaurant has a simple, delicious à la carte menu. Here you can experience traditional Portuguese gastronomy in a superb dining room or on the terrace with its sensational sea and mountain views.
Santo da Serra Golf offers the following facilities: -
Putting green (2 levels)
Chipping green with bunkers
Fully-equipped pro shop
Gym and sauna
Clubhouse restaurant and function area
The Club provides buggies and trolleys, as well as buggy-bar service.
What does the media have to say about Santo da Serra Golf:
“Home to the Madeira Island Open, Clube de Golf Santo da Serra is simply stunning. “ Golf World Magazine
“Santo da Serra, is a force to be reckoned with.” ABTA Golf 2010
“Una Clubhouse muy bonita” was the expression used by Severiano Ballesteros in 2001 when he took part of the Madeira Island Open.
“Why Madeira has remained under our radar for so many years is a real mystery to me.” Island Golf on Madeira recommended by Andy Mossack
“Santo da Serra combines a stroll through a botanical garden with a mountain adventure. Throw in a series of truly dramatic golf holes and you have one of the best holiday golf venues in the world.” Top 100 Golf Courses.
Find Santo da Serra Golf on the web at: www.santodaserragolf.com
Author: Chris Szabo, MD – Navega Bem – Madeira island – Portugal.